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Pro­gram Spot­light: SASS/MCR Cri­sis Intervention

Sep­tem­ber is both Nation­al Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion and Nation­al Recov­ery Month. This pro­gram spot­light fea­tures KYC pro­grams that work close­ly with both of these impor­tant topics.

Ken­neth Young Cen­ter has pro­vid­ed inten­sive SASS (Screen­ing Assess­ment and Sup­port Services)/MCR (Mobile Cri­sis Response) ser­vices for more than 30 years. Oper­at­ing 24 hours a day, sev­en days a week through­out the year across 224 square miles in sev­en sub­ur­ban town­ships, this team works first-hand in pre­vent­ing sui­cide, self-harm, and harm to oth­ers among peo­ple who are in psy­chi­atric crisis. 

Pre­vent­ing Harm and Pro­mot­ing Recovery

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When a per­son is in cri­sis and is in immi­nent risk of harm­ing them­selves or oth­ers, our SASS/MCR ther­a­pists are quick­ly called to help pro­tect that per­son. Our ther­a­pists respond imme­di­ate­ly to the per­son in cri­sis, meet­ing them wher­ev­er they are in the com­mu­ni­ty. Often times, we are the client and fam­i­ly’s first point of con­tact in the world of men­tal health treat­ment,” explains Rebec­ca Hor­witz, LCSW, MCR/SASS Super­vi­sor. Many of those we work with have been unable to access this type of care before, thus result­ing in a psy­chi­atric crisis.”

Our ther­a­pists rapid­ly inter­vene in a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion and keep the per­son safe. They per­form an ini­tial assess­ment to deter­mine imme­di­ate steps to decrease the risk of harm. For some indi­vid­u­als in a severe state of cri­sis, this may mean rec­om­mend­ing hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. Oth­ers may be best cared-for out­side of a hos­pi­tal set­ting. In every case, our SASS/ MCR ther­a­pists rec­om­mend a per­son­al­ized plan of action to best care for the per­son as they recov­er from the acute crisis.

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Rebecca Horwitz, LCSW, Kenneth Young Center's MCR/SASS Supervisor

Just as impor­tant as their work to mit­i­gate the poten­tial for harm in the moment that a per­son is expe­ri­enc­ing extreme dis­tress, SASS/MCR ther­a­pists con­nect the indi­vid­ual with wrap­around ser­vices that will sup­port their long-term recov­ery. We strive to ensure a com­pas­sion­ate and empath­ic approach that encour­ages our clients to con­tin­ue engag­ing in these often life­sav­ing ser­vices,” shares Rebec­ca, so that they can expe­ri­ence the qual­i­ty of life that every indi­vid­ual deserves.”

In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing ther­a­peu­tic ser­vices direct­ly, the SASS/MCR ther­a­pist will often con­nect the indi­vid­ual with an out­pa­tient ther­a­pist to con­tin­ue address­ing any emo­tion­al or behav­ioral con­cerns. They may also rec­om­mend activ­i­ties that build pos­i­tive cop­ing skills, con­nect the indi­vid­ual with addi­tion­al sup­port­ive ser­vices, or intro­duce them to com­mu­ni­ty resources that pro­mote well­ness. Through these fol­low-up steps, they help pre­vent future crises.

Proud­ly Serv­ing Our Communities

In 2019, KYC added three new Town­ships to our ser­vice area, mak­ing us one of the largest providers of this pro­gram in the state of Illi­nois. We now pro­vide SASS/MCR ser­vices in Maine, Elk Grove, Schaum­burg, Hanover, Wheel­ing, Pala­tine, and Bar­ring­ton Townships. 

Between July of 2019 and May of 2020, 2,507 indi­vid­u­als were served through these pro­grams, rang­ing in age as young as three years old through adult­hood. Although this is dif­fi­cult work, it is much need­ed in our com­mu­ni­ties. Rebec­ca shares that as a team, we pride our­selves on our abil­i­ty to pro­vide these crit­i­cal ser­vices for those most under­served in our community.”

Con­tact Resources

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If you feel that some­one may be at risk of harm­ing them­selves or oth­ers or are in a men­tal health cri­sis, please get help imme­di­ate­ly. Resources that you can call include:

  • The CARES line (800) 3459049. This is a men­tal health cri­sis line for peo­ple at risk of harm­ing them­selves or oth­ers in the state of Illinois.
  • 911
  • The Nation­al Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Life­line: 1 – 800-273-TALK(8255). The Life­line pro­vides 24-hour free and con­fi­den­tial support.

If you are seek­ing more infor­ma­tion about the ser­vices that KYC pro­vides and you are not at risk of harm­ing your­self or some­one else, please call 8475248800.


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—Alfred North Whitehead